#38 – The Bowl Season – “Toilet Bowl”

The “Toilet Bowl”

The holiday season is bowl season for the fan of college football. For those of us that are fans of politics we have been treated to the Congressional Impeachment Bowl. This bowl differs from a football game because the final result has already been determined. The winner is the government and the loser is the citizens but it makes for good entertainment. My father in law use to refer to many of the college bowls as “Toilet Bowls.”

The Congressional Impeachment Bowl has been staged before a public audience, with play by play furnished by the announcers of your choice. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, New York Times whatever partisan view you prefer, you the viewer can choose. The Democrats and Republicans actors are convincing in their roles. Many of their fans believe that they are fighting for the interests of “our” team. Viewed through the eyes of the nonpartisan they more resemble pro-wrestlers than college football players.

While the US media has been mesmerized by the field performances of the Congressional Bowl actors, these prima donnas have been quite busy on the sidelines passing bills like the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The nearly 3,500-page bill authorizes $738 billion in defense spending in Fiscal Year 2020. That is a hell of a playbook to read while engaged is their performance. I can see why they might have over looked a little detail or two. Let me rant.

A “Space Force,” to expand the empire into the cosmos, continuing to allow government kidnapping (“terrorist”-Guantanamo) and letting the president send American troops into combat. You know, that guy the House just impeached. However, these moral performers did show their grit by discarding the Constitution, once again, to protect our children by raising the unconstitutional federal age to buy cigarettes to 21, “its all about the children.” By the way, those 18 year olds are the children you let the president sent off to our unconstitutional wars.

However, those Congress-critters hammered out a $1.4 trillion spending agreement with the Trump administration. The agreement, “fills in the details of a bipartisan framework from July that delivered about $100 billion in agency spending increases over the coming two years instead of automatic spending cuts that would have sharply slashed both the Pentagon and domestic agencies.”

So, Congress continued to ignore the Constitution by agreeing not to enforce its monopoly of declaring war before sending U.S. military to conduct offensive combat operations. They extended the NDAA provisions written into the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, to authorize the arrest and “indefinite detention” of anybody the president decides might be associated with “terrorism” and subject them to the law of war. They handed out $1.4 trillion while declaring that 18 years olds can “Kill for us, but don’t get caught smoking.” Toilet Bowl indeed!

#37 Glory To You – Democracy

Civics 101 – What Did I Miss?

When did democracy become God? We worship it, we give it thanks, we praise it, we glorify it, we invade for it, we overthrow for it and now we impeach for it. What did I miss in civics class? 

Many of our Representatives have made statements that connect democracy with the Founding Fathers and point to the US Constitution as proof. Are they ignorant, nefarious or just stooges in this demigod called Democracy? Whatever, it is the ultimate “fake news” being perpetrated on the people. But the media loves those cute little patriotic sound bites. 

The fundamental principle, of the Constitution, is not to carry out the will of the people but is to protect individual liberty. The will of the people, also known as the democratic decision-making process, defiles the US Constitution. Most Americans do not fully understand the dangers surfacing from this misunderstanding. Our government officials continue to push “their” government away from liberty and toward democracy as we the people become servants of “their” government.   

Partisanship Can Not Be Removed From Democracy

American constitutionalism has morphed from protecting liberty to advancing democracy at the expense of liberty. The Founders saw the role of government as a protectorate of the rights of individuals, and the biggest threat to individual liberty was the government itself. They designed a government with constitutionally limited powers, constrained to carry out only those activities specifically allowed by the Constitution.

If you follow the principle of liberty first and foremost and prescribe to the notion that the government’s role is to protect the rights of individuals; one would clearly see that the principle of democracy, collective decisions made according to the will of the majority, is anti-Constitutional. The greater the allowable scope of democracy in government, the greater the threat to liberty.

This is reflected in the nature of the elections they prescribed in the Constitution.The Founding Fathers viewed elections as a method of selecting competent people to undertake a job with constitutionally-specified limits. With the extension of democracy, elections became referendums on public policy. If you recall there were several warnings against the dangers of factions (party’s, special interest, etc.) The Federalist Papers No. 9, No. 10 and No. 11. and Washington’s farewell address to name a few.

Democracy – Oops, There It Is

It is true that the Constitution did allow for one democratic process, a representative to be elected by a majority of a district’s constituents. However, the Founders wanted those who ran the government to be insulated from direct influence by its citizens. By insulating political decision-makers from direct accountability to citizens, the government would be in a better position to adhere to its constitutionally-mandated limits. However, re-election, partisan vote and campaign donation has created a landslide of outside influence. Influence to the point that my vision of a Congressman (woman) more resembles a race car driver than a diligent official.

(Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)

The Constitution created a limited government designed to protect liberty, not to foster democracy. However, the United States has consistently moved toward more democracy, and the unintended side effect has been a reduction in liberty.

Democracy, No – Republic, Yes

It may have been Mark Twain, maybe Emma Goldman or possible Phillip Berrigan once said, “If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.“ Whoever said it, maybe they were on to something because there is a lot of truth to it.

In Randall Holcombe’s new book, Liberty in Peril: Democracy and Power in American History, Holcombe’s lays out the case for why “the Founders had no intention of designing a government that would respond to the will of the majority,” as illustrated by the fact that citizens “had almost no direct input into the federal government as the Constitution was originally written and ratified.”

The US Constitution allows for one governmental position to be elected by the people, Congressional representative, not President nor US Senator. “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States….”  Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 Because the founding fathers were not fans of mob rule, they purposely and meticulously limited democratic procedures for national positions.

Both US Senators and the President were not to be selected by popular vote. “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” Article I, Section 3, Clause 1

The 17th Amendment profoundly altered Article I, Section 3, by providing for direct election of the Senate. This Amendment tilted the scale of power in favor the central government over the states. This change to the selection process, making it democratic, eliminated the responsibility that the US Senator had to his/her state under the Founder’s Constitution.

Presidential Election- What is That?

The Constitution clearly did not intent for popular vote to determine the President either. read Article 2, Section 1 on executive selection:  https://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/2

It is the Electoral College that was designated to vote for the president, completely independent of any popular vote. An understanding of the Electoral College would discard any presumptions behind the current debate over the National Popular Vote.  In fact, the Founders anticipated that in most cases no candidate would receive votes from a majority of the Electors. “The Founders reasoned that most electors would vote for one candidate from their own states…and it would be unlikely that voting along state lines would produce any candidate with a majority of the votes.” Holcombe

Consequently, in reality: “the Founders envisioned that in most cases the president would end up being chosen by the House of Representatives from the list of the top-five electoral vote recipients…Furthermore, there was no indication that the number of electoral votes received should carry any weight besides creating a list of the top five candidates…The process was not intended to be democratic.” Holcombe

How Do You Really Feel?

Therefore, it is not surprising that the Constitution does not contain the word “democracy,” but does mandate: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government.”

John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, championed the new Constitution in his state precisely because it would not create a democracy. “Democracy never lasts long,” he noted. “It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.” He insisted, “There was never a democracy that ‘did not commit suicide.’”

New York’s Alexander Hamilton”We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy.”

James Madison, who is known as the “Father of the Constitution,” wrote in The Federalist, No. 10: “… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.”

Can We Handle It?

After the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. A Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin,  “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

The difference between a democracy and a republic is not just semantics but is fundamental. The word “republic” comes from the Latin res publica — which means simply “the public thing(s),” or more simply “the law(s).” “Democracy,” on the other hand, is derived from the Greek words demos and kratein, which translates to “the people to rule.” Democracy, therefore, has always been synonymous with majority rule.

The push for democracy has only been possible because the Constitution is being ignored, violated, and circumvented. The Constitution defines and limits the powers of the federal government. Those powers, all of which are enumerated, do not include agricultural subsidy programs, housing programs, education assistance programs, food stamps, health care, etc.

Under the Constitution, Congress is not authorized to pass any law it chooses; it is only authorized to pass laws that are constitutional. Anybody who doubts the intent of the Founders to restrict federal powers, and thereby protect the rights of the individual, should review the language in the Bill of Rights, including the opening phrase of the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law…”).

Robert Welch explained in a 1961 speech:

“… rights cannot be abrogated by the vote of a majority any more than they can be by the decree of a conqueror. The idea that the vote of a people, no matter how nearly unanimous, makes or creates or determines what is right or just becomes as absurd and unacceptable as the idea that right and justice are simply whatever a king says they are.”

Congress – Read The Constitution   

The Constitution contains only 4,543 words, including the signatures. The Founding Fathers envisioned US Representatives to Congress to be competent people to undertake a job with constitutionally-specified limits. I am sure they would include reading and understanding the Constitution as a prerequisite to being a competent person. I do!

#36 Congress – Fiddling With Impeachment – While Afghanistan Burns

Is A Presidential Veto – Obstruction of Congress?

Yes dear, forever wars, homelessness, opioids, health care, infrastructure crumbling, national debt as Congress fiddles with impeachment. Who’s the criminal?

The absurdity of these charges, made by our body of elected officials, reeks of arrogance and delusion. I am not a fan of Trump but I am a fan of the US Constitution. Congress needs to reflect and evaluate the damage that they have created by not following it. Instead they will continue to look for others to blame. The story of Nero comes to mind.

In July of 64 A.D., a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. According to a well-known expression, Rome’s emperor at the time, the decadent and unpopular Nero, “fiddled while Rome burned.” The callousness of playing music while his people suffered and the shirking of leadership responsibility when needed in a time of crisis are obviously similar.

The US House of Representatives has become a present day Nero. Sadistic and cruel while building Golden Palaces surrounded by pleasure gardens blaming others for the fires that continue to rage in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Iraq.

The recent Washington Post report reveals that U.S. officials have been engaged in a campaign to mislead the American people. Under three successive presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump — who all promised to avoid getting sucked into an open-ended nation-building mission, civilian and military leaders, writes the Post’s Craig Whitlock “failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan…, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”  “This dishonesty, in fact, is a big part of why the war persists.”

Why and on who’s watch was this allowed to happen? Congress is the common denominator. Look in the mirror, the cause is standing in front of you. It happened in 1964 with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and then again in 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Why does Congress continue to let the Genie out of the bottle? 

The Congress Shall Have Power To …Declare War

When the US Constitution is compromised and the checks and balance of power is distorted, the Executive branch and its military goes rogue. The US Constitution makes it clear that Congress shall have the power to declare war. Article1, Section 8, of the US Constitution reads; “The Congress shall have PowerTo …Declare War…”

“The framers of the Constitution were reluctant to concentrate too much influence in the hands of too few. They had the vision to deny the office of the President the authority to go to war unilaterally. They firmly believed that if America was going to survive as a republic, they reasoned, declarations of war required careful debate in open forums among the public’s representatives.”

Fool Me Once – Shame On You

The Tonkin Gulf Resolution (1964) (H.J. RES 1145) dated August 7, 1964, gave President Lyndon Johnson authority to increase U.S. involvement in the war between North and South Vietnam. It stated that “Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent any further aggression.” As a result, President Johnson, and later President Nixon, relied on the resolution as the legal basis for their military policies in Vietnam.

Fool Me Twice – Shame On Me

On Sep 18, 2001: Congress Passed S.J.Res. 23 (107th): Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF): This joint resolution reads: “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

The AUMF was a free pass for the President to declare state force (war), on any nation, organization or person labeled “a terrorist.” The AUMF became the catalyst for sending our husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters into harms way. The US military force perpetrated on innocent people included; murder, torture, war crimes, bribery, lying and corruption. Just to name a few of the crimes.

Show Me The Money

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, is the latest budgetary monster created by the DC swamp. The 2020 version of the annual Department of Defense funding bill provides $738 billion to the Pentagon compared to pre-AUMF level of $429.45 billion. (see summary here)

https://republicansarmedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/FY20%20NDAA%20Conference%20Summary%20_%20FINAL.pdf

U.S. military spending from 2000 to 2018 chart of budget:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/272473/us-military-spending-from-2000-to-2012/

The $30 billion increase, from 2018 budget, is to be wasted on failing weapons projects and an ever growing bureaucracy to support and promote the endless wars.  It requires our government coerced taxes to fund our state sponsored violence programs.

To approve the $738 billion NDAA budget, at a time when the annual federal budget deficit surpasses $1 trillion is criminal. Endorsing ambitious military strategies without considering obvious resource constraints is mind boggling. Our elected officials, in both parties, have failed to come to grips with the nation’s fiscal situation and our abusive military actions.

Bribery – That Is An Impeachable Offense

If this NDAA passes, it will be another sign of how U.S. foreign policy is writing checks that Americans who have not yet been born will have to pay. While Congress members, that vote to approve, will benefit financially from donation made by the corporations that procure the new and extended governmental contracts coming from the $738 billion. Taking payments of money in exchange for favorable treatment, government contracts – campaign donations. Is that bribery?

https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/contrib.php?cycle=2020&ind=D

Treason – That Is An Impeachable Offense

The oath of office that every member of Congress takes is a pledge to “support and defend the Constitution.” The Constitution clearly states that the nation’s war powers are vested in the Legislative branch, not the Executive. Members of Congress who have refused to revisit the AUMF are derelict of their duty. And those in Congress who have blocked any consideration of that question, are guilty of a far greater breach of trust: they are “subverting the Constitution.” Is that Treason?

Bring Them Home

The results of Congress passing its Constitutional responsibility on to another branch of government has been disastrous. How many Vietnam’s, Afghanistan’s, Iraq’s, Libya’s, Syria’s or Yemen’s do we have left before we implode as a nation? Put the Genie back in the bottle, rescind the AUMF and bring all of our troops home.

#35 Ukraine – Who Is Zooming Who?

Ukraine – Who’s Zooming Who?

Ukraine has been the recipient of vast US and western military and economic aid, a condition that has turned it into a honeypot for some of Washington’s finest thieves (corporations and individuals). It appears that some influence peddling ensnared the, business as usual, Biden’s and co-oped the DNC in the 2016 US election. But when Trump “ask” President Volodymyr Zelensky “do me a favor” get to the bottom of this corruption, impeachment breaks-out.

At the Trump impeachment inquest, US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland made the narrative clear, “in July and August 2019, we learned that the White House had also suspended security aid to Ukraine. I was adamantly opposed to any suspension of aid, as the Ukrainians needed those funds to fight against Russian aggression.” Ah-ha moment – its about Russia. However, if you listen closely its initiated by an out of control non-elected Foreign Service backed by the intelligence community to promote the Washington’s “business as usual” approach to regime change.

The Democrats have hitched their wagon to the Deep State masters. They have been dragging out of the NSC and State Department woodwork some very impressive bellicose “patriots”. Using fear as a weapon, the neocon recite their testimony about the Russkie threat and Ukrainian being the “front line.” This talk should have woken the American public to the absurdity of the entire Cold War 2.0 campaign. Fighting the Russkies in the Donbass rather than on the shores of New Jersey. Come on!

Washington and its compliant media continues to mislead Americans concerning the following: Russia; the Ukrainian Coup of 2014; Vladimir Putin; Crimea; Donbass and Malaysia’s Airlines’s Flight MH17. The fog that is being propagated by the impeachment trial has shielded the public from some scary facts. Henry Kissinger once said, “It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but what is perceived to be true.” This is so true when we peel back the layers of this onion.

 Russia (Enemy #1?)

Russia, a kleptocratic state sitting atop an aging population with a third-rate economy and little capacity to project 21st century offensive military power beyond its own borders. Reality is that Russia is not a military threat to the US homeland. Russia is essentially a landlocked military shadow of the former Soviet Union war machine. The US, is the world’s only globe-spanning imperial power, with a massive conventional armada.

The notion that a cesspool of corruption in Ukraine is a strategic buffer against Russian aggression is just not logical and “plain idiocy.” So, what is it about Ukraine that makes it qualify for the case for America’s absurd $900 billion defense and national security budget.

The idea that that US is needs to defend any European country from Russia is also nonsense. Europe can take care of its own security and relationship with its neighbor on the Eurasian continent. After all, the GDP of NATO Europe is $18 trillion or 12X greater than that of Russia, and the current military budgets of European NATO members total about $280 billion or 4X more than that of Russia. Besides, the only tensions that exist in Europe exist because of the illegal coup in Kiev in February 2014 promoted by US aggression.

The pre-Coup

In 2013, the European Union proposing an association agreement with Ukraine while U.S. neocons and other hawkish politicos and pundits envisioned using the Ukraine gambit as a way to undermine Putin inside Russia.

In late 2013 the Ukrainian leaders attempted to align itself economically and politically with its historic “daddy” in Moscow rather than the European Union and NATO. The democratically elected and constitutionally legitimate government of Ukraine then led by Viktor Yanukovych was leaning toward Russia’s offer because it was a better deal from Moscow than that being demanded by the fiscal torture artists of the IMF.

The EU’s proposal “required that Ukraine double prices for gas and electricity to industry and homes, eliminate a ban on private sale of Ukraine’s rich and fertile agricultural lands, cut state funds for children and the elderly to “balance the budget.”  The infamous “association agreement that Yanukovich refused to sign was a military agreement that would have transformed Ukraine into a military base further completing the encirclement of Russia, and turning Ukraine into a puppet of Nato.” Carla Stae, Global Research

President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed these harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine’s economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych’s decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country’s western and more pro-European region.

The Ukraine Coup (For Freedom and Democracy?)

Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, took notice of Yanukovych move toward Russia. Nuland advocated strenuously for Ukraine’s reorientation toward Europe. Strenuous for some indicates diplomatic strategies, Nuland became a bit over zealous.

Ms Nuland (aka The Maidan Cookie Monster) a U.S. State Department official, brazen and undiplomatic actions brought about a coup.  Nuland’s successful efforts, have been haunting us now for over five years. Without Ms Nuland the Ukraine crisis might not exist, Trump impeachment might have actually focused on real impeachable offense and the Democrats might not have to lie or behave paranoiac when Ukraine is mentioned.

Nuland was a neocon holdover who advised Vice President Dick Cheney. Nuland gained promotions under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and received backing, too, from ex-Secretary of State John Kerry. After all, promotions come easy when you have the right stuff, family connections. Victoria Nuland is the wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan and is the sister-in-law of the Gates-Petraeus adviser Frederick Kagan.

In September 2013, Nuland undertook an extraordinary effort to promote “regime change” in Ukraine. She personally urged on business leaders and political activists to challenge elected President Viktor Yanukovych. She reminded corporate executives that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations,” and she literally passed out cookies to anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square

Working with other key neocons, including National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman and Sen. John McCain, Nuland made clear that the United States would back a “regime change” against Yanukovych even though neo-Nazi and other right-wing militias were pouring into Kiev. Never the less, these groups were the recipients of US support.

In early February 2014, Nuland discussed U.S.-desired changes with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, a veteran diplomat well seasoned in “regime change”. Nuland leaked telephone conversations reveals her proposing a new line-up of Ukrainian officials as if she were selecting her fantasy football team. “Yats is the guy,” she said of her favorite Arseniy Yatsenyuk, to succeed the over-thrown Yanukovych.

Nuland, disparaged by the European Union less aggressive direction, uttered “Fuck the EU” and brainstormed how she would “glue this thing” as Pyatt pondered how to “mid-wife this thing.” Their unsecured phone call seamed to have indicated that Joe “Elmer’s” Biden had the stickiness to be Obama’s point man and besides he could be a good cheerleader to give “an attaboy” to the guys.

The coup against Yanukovych played out on Feb. 22, 2014, as the neo-Nazi militias and other violent extremists overran government buildings forcing the president and other officials to flee for their lives. Nuland’s State Department quickly declared the new regime “legitimate” and her guy “Yats” Yatsenyuk took over as prime minister.

Putin – (In the Cross-hairs?)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, was presiding over the Winter Olympics at Sochi, was caught off-guard by the coup. The coup, next door to Russia, held a crisis session to determine how to protect ethnic Russians and Russian interests. Those interests included Russia’s primary national security asset – the naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea which had been the homeport of the Russian Black Sea Fleet for centuries under czars and commissars.

The the US State Department, peddled a propaganda theme that Putin had instigated the Ukraine crisis, the credulous U.S. mainstream news media used this lie to promote the made-up sort that Putin orchestrated the coup in Ukraine so he could begin invading Europe. After all, didn’t Secretary of State Clinton created that narrative when she compared Putin to Adolf Hitler.

Speaking of Hitler – Ukraine and Ghosts of WW2

Washington’s obtuseness to this history reflected pure imperial arrogance. Ukraine specifically, was not really a Warsaw Pact “captive nation” like Poland or the Czech Republic. It had actually been an integral component of the old Soviet Union, and before that a vassal and province of Czarist Russia.

A 1897 map indicates, that today’s Ukraine barely even existed as an independent state during the final centuries of the Czarist Russian Empire.  Donbass, the Russian-speaking regions in what is today eastern Ukraine had been known as “New Russia” owing to the Czarist policy of settling Russians there to prevent encroachments by the Ottoman Turks.

In 1923, the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, was incorporated by Moscow. During WW2 Western Ukraine had sided with the Nazi and Hitler’s Wehrmacht as it brutally made its way through Ukraine to the siege of Stalingrad. Eastern Ukraine had lined up with the Soviet Red Army during its equally bloody campaign of destruction and revenge as it chased the defeated Nazi army back to Berlin after 1943.

When Washington recruited modern-day political descendants of the WWII pro-Nazi brigades  of the west to replace the Yanukovych government, ruffled the feathers of many ethnic Russians. As the violence in the streets of Kiev increased, instigated mostly from Washington and pro-Nazi backed factions, further drove a divide between Ukrainians and the ethnic Russians. In February 2014, the US funded and engineered putsch successfully overthrew the duly elected President of Ukraine. Basically, the US regime change intervention was on the grounds that he was too friendly with Moscow.

Washington’s reaction to Nuland’s “success” was best summed up by Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, incidentally, funded by the U.S. Congress.  President Carl Gershman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important interim step toward eventually toppling Putin in Russia. Gershman, wrote: “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

Crimea (Russian Troop Invasion?)

When Washington helped to install a ultra-nationalist government, with its neo-Nazi vanguard, the mobs on the street of Kiev reopened deep national wounds. Ukraine’s bitter divide between Russian-speakers in the east and Ukrainian nationalists elsewhere dates back to Stalin’s brutal rein in Ukraine during the 1930s and Ukrainian collusion with Hitler’s Wehrmacht on its way to Stalingrad and back during the 1940s.

It was the memory of the latter nightmare, in fact, which triggered the fear-driven outbreak of Russian separatism in the Crimea. In March 2014,  Crimea held a referendum vote to determine its own future. They formally voted to re-affiliate with Mother Russia. Any familiarity with Russian history and geography one would conclude that Crimea had nothing at stake or saw any legitimacy in the US backed Ukraine coup results.

Crimean History

In 1954, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev donated Crimea to Ukraine without considering the wishes of the Crimean population, who strongly opposed their new arrangement because they overwhelmingly considered themselves to be Russians, not to be Ukrainians.

Crimea favors Russia and feel loyalty to what they consider their Russian heritage. The Crimean public is 70 percent Russian, and its Parliament in 1992 actually voted to declare independence from Ukraine for fear that the national leadership would nudge the country toward the West. (The vote was later rescinded to avoid a violent national confrontation.) In 1994, Crimea elected a president who had campaigned on a platform of “unity with Russia.”

In 2010, Russia and Ukraine had signed a 25-year extension on the lease that Russia had had on Russia’s Black-Sea-Fleet naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea ever since 1783, when Crimea first became a part of Russia. It has been reported that one of Obama’s objectives in taking over Ukraine in the 2014 coup was to cancel the remaining 21 years on Russia’s lease.

 The March 16th plebiscite results to rejoin Russia or remain under the administration of an Ukraine’s illegal regime was a no brainer. The referendum of the voters in Crimea, produced a 96% vote to secede result. Some people, the Ukrainian Government’s officials in Crimea at the time opposed holding any such referendum and Army did issued a statement: “The Ukrainian army units remained loyal to Kyiv.” After all they had their jobs and future to consider

What Russian Troops Invaded?

The only thing that made Crimea’s departure possible was the presence of Russian army.”  That too is true, just not relevant: because the Russian troops were already there as part of the lease agreement for protecting Russia’s naval base, at Sevastopol. If they were not in Crimea, the same situation that exists in Donbass today would be happening in Crimea.

Question: “Did the Crimean favor or oppose rejoining Russia?”                                            The following results, from Gallop Polls clearly answers that question: Gallup polled 500 Crimean in May of 2013, and conducted another poll in April 2014:

  • 15% considered themselves “Ukrainian.”
  • 24% considered themselves “Crimean.”
  • 40% considered themselves “Russian.”

2014 results

  • 71.3% of Crimean viewed as “Mostly positive” the role of Russia there
  • 4.0% viewed it as “Mostly negative”;
  • 2.8% viewed the role of the United States there as “Mostly positive,”
  • 76.2% viewed it as “Mostly negative.”

Gallop’s 2014 poll: Of the 500 people that were sampled in Crimea were asked, Please tell me if you agree or disagree: “The results of the referendum on Crimea’s status [to rejoin Russia] reflect the views of most people here.” 82.8% said ‘Agree.’ 6.7% said ‘Disagree.’” Crimea’s final voting results before the February 2014 coup were: 80% of Crimean had voted for the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

So, the President for whom they had overwhelmingly voted, the man that was overthrown in a bloody coup, the coup that had US fingerprints smudged all over it, voted to secede from Crimea. In the hearts of the local residents, Crimea was still Russian territory, after an involuntary hiatus of 60 years. The Russian Government accepted them back again, into Russia.

This is what the US Government and its mainstream media calls Russian Aggression and the Russian Invasion of Crimea. It one was to look abjectly they may conclude that it was not ‘Russia’s seizure of Crimea,’ but Russia’s protection of Crimean citizens, from the invasion of Ukraine by the resultants of a bloody coup.

Donbass (Russian Aggression?)

The new Kiev government, in the wake of their loss of Crimea, launched a brutal “anti-terrorism operation” to subdue an uprising among the large ethnic Russian populations of eastern and southern Ukraine. Nuland and other American neocons pushed for economic sanctions against Russia and demanded arms for the coup regime and her neocon cronies complied.

Washington “Releases the Hounds”

The White House confirmed that CIA director John Brennan arrived in Ukraine the weekend of April 13-14, under an assumed name, and held a “series of secret meetings” with Kiev’s “power bloc.” Immediately following CIA director Brennan’s “secret” visit to Kiev, the newly western installed and un-elected junta in Kiev launched lethal military attacks against unarmed Ukranian civilians in Kramatorsk. 

Former Ukranian President Yanukovich accused the CIA of being responsibility for the decision to use military force against non-violent pro-Russia demonstrators. The Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleansing. Deploying neo-Nazi militias, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns.

They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became misrepresented the exodus as escaping “the violence” caused by the “Russian invasion.” The Nato commander, General Breedlove even lied as he announced 40,000 Russian troops were “massing” even though forensic satellite evidence offered none.

Deadly military actions, in Odessa and at Kramatorsk airfield killed more than 50 civilians. In Odessa, Russians burned alive as police stood by and unarmed civilian were shot while in the American and British media, reported the a “tragedy” resulting from “clashes” between “nationalists” and “separatists. The Wall Street Journal referred to these deadly actions as:  “Ukraine Uses Military Force for the first Time. Soldiers Fire on Pro-Russian separatists at Air Base;  U.S. Supports Kiev Response.”  

Most of the”separatists” were citizens that wanted to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous “states” were a reaction to Kiev’s attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences. These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine sought a federation that reflected the country’s ethnic diversity autonomous of Kiev and independent of Moscow.

In May the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk voted for self-rule, 89%, and the neighboring Lukansk region voted 96% for independence. The pro-Russia separatists landslide victory, calling for the creation of a new, quasi-independent entities in eastern Ukraine, marked a new watershed in the country’s crisis.

The referendum in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which Putin, advised the separatist leaders to postpone was portrayed as a Putin scheme to take over eastern Ukraine. However, Putin rejected any proposals to annex these two provinces.

Separatist leader, Denis Pushilin, served warning that all Ukrainian troops on his territory would become illegal. “All military troops on our territory after the official announcement of referendum results will be considered illegal and declared occupiers,” Denis Pushilin said. “It is necessary to form state bodies and military authorities as soon as possible.”

Malaysia’s Flight MH17 (War Crime?)

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17)[ was a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It was shot down on July 17, 2014 while flying over eastern Ukraine’s airspace. All 283 passengers and 15 crew were killed. The White House, almost immediately, blamed Russia for the shooting-down of the Malaysia’s airliner.

The White House and its Ukrainian regime used the fact that the separatists had already shot down several Ukrainian bombers and omitted the fact that the Ukraine bombers were flying at much lower altitudes and that the separates did not have the capability to shoot down aircraft at higher altitudes was ignored.  The US’s premature accusation that Russian was directly or indirectly responsibility was the basis for another crucial hike in the economic sanctions against Russia. 

As it turned out, the Ukrainian Government shot down the airliner. It was proven the the Malaysian plane carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members was downed by gunfire and missile-fire from Ukrainian fighter-plane(s).

Conclusion (Who Is Zooming Who?)

The Ukraine putsch was clearly a blatant effort to interfere in the domestic politics of a foreign nation, a nation residing in a delicate and easily inflamed part of the world. A nation that has shared strong economic, trade, cultural, ethnic, and language ties, with Russia going back centuries.

US/Nato forces encouraged Kiev’s military onslaught, including war crimes in an attempt to provoke Russian President Putin into making a mistake. Instead, Putin confounded the war party by seeking an accommodation with Washington and the EU, withdrawing Russian troops from the Ukrainian border and urging ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine to abandon their referendums.

No Russian leader would survive politically, if he or she were to ignore Ukraine’s abduction from Russia’s sphere of influence. Ukraine had historically functioned as an integral part of Mother Russia, serving as its breadbasket and iron and steel crucible under czars and commissars alike. Given this history, the idea that Ukraine should be actively and aggressively induced to join NATO was not just plain nuts, its evil.

Ukraine has attracted the same old Russia-phoebes funding think tanks, NGOs, foreign policy experts, national security contractors and Warfare State agencies – from DOD through the State Department, AID, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Board for International Broadcasting and countless more – which ply their trade in the Imperial City.

Washington sidling up to Ukraine has generated events that has turned Ukraine into another Washington beltway goldmine. “Fighting Russian aggression” generates jobs, money and lucrative defense contracts. Cold War 2 may be a gravy train for the career minded government bureaucrats but its a disaster for US and Ukraine citizens. So, when the newly elected Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky promised to solve its eastern border separatist situation and heal Russia relations, the red flag gets hoisted.

Nevertheless, the defense inappropriate military and economic aid to Ukraine and the corruption in both Washington and Kiev, is the real reason this posse of neocon stooges took exception to the Donald’s legitimate interest in investigating the Biden’s and the events of 2016. So, when US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland says, “the Ukrainians needed those funds to fight against Russian aggression,” he is just repeating Washington’s narrative on Ukraine, keep the gravy train rolling.

Impeach Trump for legitimate reasons like his continuation and escalation of wars in Syria, Afghanistan or Yemen not for inappropriate diplomacy and his lame attempt to expose corruption. 

Resources:

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/02/whos-telling-the-big-lie-on-ukraine/

https://step-back.org/ukraine-timeline/

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-war-in-east-ukraine-us-natos-paranoid-falsification-of-reality/5400195 

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/02/23/neocons-and-the-ukraine-coup/

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/13/putin-ukraine-and-what-americans-know/

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/01/06/nyt-still-pretends-no-coup-in-ukraine/

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/21/a-coming-russia-ukraine-war/

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

#34 – NATO at 70 – Suffering Dementia?

NATO Summit – 70th Anniversary 

In London, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), will show how it is ready to fight Cold War 2. It will showcase its readiness initiative – the ability to deploy 30 battalions by land, 30 air squadrons and 30 naval vessels in just 30 days. Why? To confront future threats from China and Russia’s hypersonic missiles and cyber warfare?What for? Will these questions be addressed at NATO’s summit? 

France’s President Macron, recently told the Economist in early November that NATO was “brain dead.” Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign declared that “NATO is obsolete.” Both Presidents are right, NATO is “brain dead” and “obsolete.” Maybe they should take this opportunity to cajole the alliance members out of their collective pact and rethink the whole philosophy behind NATO.

Obsolete

NATO, was originally founded by the United States and 11 other Western nations as an attempt to curb the rise of communism in 1949. The treaty sets out the idea of collective defense, meaning that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies. From its inception, its main purpose was to defend each other from the possibility of communist Soviet Union taking control of their nation. 

Six years after NATO was signed, Communist nations founded the Warsaw Pact and through these two multilateral institutions, the entire globe became a Cold War battleground. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, the Warsaw Pact disbanded and NATO expanded, growing from its original 12 members to 29 member countries.

While “preserving peace,” NATO’s resume is suspect, it has a history of bombing civilians and committing war crimes. In 1999, NATO engaged in military operations without UN approval in Yugoslavia. Its illegal airstrikes during the Kosovo War left hundreds of civilians dead.

In 2001, far from the “North Atlantic,” NATO joined the United States in invading Afghanistan. In 2011, NATO forces illegally invaded Libya, creating a failed state that caused masses of people to flee. Rather than take responsibility for these refugees, NATO countries have turned back desperate migrants on the Mediterranean Sea, letting thousands die.

NATO is a gigantic alliance with tanks, nuclear bombs, armies, aircraft, ships and submarines. It now accounts for about three-quarters of military spending and weapons dealing around the globe. Instead of preventing war, it promotes militarism, exacerbates global tensions and makes war more likely.

NATO Expansion

At its founding, NATO consisted of twelve countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1952, Greece and Turkey became members of the Alliance, joined later by West Germany (in 1955) and Spain (in 1982). In 1990 came the first ex-Soviet Block country to join NATO.

In 1990 with the reuniting of East and West Germany, then U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990. This was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents.

Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the “not one inch eastward” formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev’s statement in response to the assurances that “NATO expansion is unacceptable.” Baker assured Gorbachev that “neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” and that the Americans understood that “not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”

Encircling Russia

After Cold War 1, the United States ignored Russia’s historical insecurity about foreign encirclement by expanding NATO. This came at a time when Russia’s territory was the smallest it had been since the 1700’s under the reign of Catherine the Great.

President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, decided to expand NATO eastward from Germany. Since the end of Cold War 1, 13 countries have joined NATO; the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), and Montenegro (2017).

Democrats and Republicans have insisted that Eastern Europe is a “vital US national interest.” Those that understood Russian history opposed that folly and warned it would lead to dangerous conflicts with Moscow, conceivably even war. Russia has historically sought a buffer to protect itself from foreign invaders. The Soviets wanted territory from Turkey and Iran after World War II to act as a buffering territory to Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

It’s therefore not surprising that Russia was incensed when Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Baltic states and others were ushered into NATO membership starting in the mid-1990s. Boris Yeltsin, Dmitry Medvedev and Gorbachev himself protested through both public and private channels that U.S. leaders had violated the non-expansion arrangement. As NATO began looking even further eastward, to Ukraine and Georgia, protests turned to outright aggression and saber-rattling. 

Cold War Scholars React

Many of America’s most reputable officials and academics have opposed post-Cold War NATO expansion for substantive reasons. George Kennan, perhaps our most famous Cold War diplomat and widely considered to be the father of the United States’ containment strategy, famously opposed NATO expansion in the 1990s, writing in the New York Times that expanding NATO would be a “fateful error” that would “inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion” and “restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations.” Like Senator Paul, Kennan also worried about the problems of credibility and overextension.

In 1995, a group of almost two dozen retired Foreign Service, State Department, and Department of Defense officers who served during the Cold War signed an open letter opposing NATO expansion on grounds similar to Paul and Kennan. They argued it risked exacerbating instability and “convincing most Russians that the United States and the West are attempting to isolate, encircle, and subordinate them.” The signatories included Paul H. Nitze, former Secretary of the Navy and Deputy Secretary of Defense, as well as Jack F. Matlock, Jr., former Ambassador to the USSR, and John A. Armitage, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.

Enter Putin

In the year previous to Putin’s presidency NATO had given the acceptance of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Then from March 24, 1999  to June 10, 1999 NATO bombed Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. These provocative actions along combined with NATO expansion, support for the so-called “color revolutions,” regime change wars in the Middle East—have triggered historical Russian suspicions of foreign intervention and enraged the security sensitive Russians. Thus putting Russo-American relations into a historic impasse.

“At bottom of [the] Kremlin’s neurotic view of world affairs is [a] traditional and instinctive Russian sense of insecurity,” wrote George F. Kennan, in his famous Long Telegram. “Whereas the West sees Russia’s fear of invasion as groundless, history has shown Russian leaders that foreign intentions are typically hidden or fluid. Each age brings a new existential threat; there would always be another Napoleon or Hitler,” writes Benn Steil in Foreign Policy.

Divorce – Attendant Circumstances

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed to commit its members to democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law, as well as to peaceful resolution of disputes. NATO was not to reconfigured Europe or to maintain U.S. domination, or to mobilize against Russia. It should not be expanding but disbanding, seventy years of militarism is more than enough.

The US should leave NATO. It should not be held hostage to an organization that  now stokes the embers of fear like terrorism; piracy; ethnic violence; inadequate economic reform; threats to energy supplies; arms proliferation; drug trafficking; cyber attacks; laser weapons; electronic warfare; health risks; climate change and something called “instability.”

“Brain Dead”

The idea that the US, for that matter 28 nation, be obligated go to war on behalf of one nation’s conflict is completely ludicrous, “Brain Dead.” When will we discard this Cold War mentality? Shouldn’t Americans want a less aggressive foreign policy that focuses on peace, diplomacy, and economic engagement instead of military force?

#33 – The Forth Branch of Government?

The Forth Branch of Government

The US Constitution created three branches of government: the Executive (presidential), Legislative (congressional), and the Judicial (the court system). A forth piece of government has metastasized into an entity of supreme power. The non-elected, bureaucratic deep-state, appears to be the guardian over the constitutional established three branches. Feed by legislation from the National Security Act of 1947 up to the “Patriot Act” of 2001 the U.S. aligns more with a National Security State than a Democratic Republic.

The American national security system was defined and empowered by these three constitutional institutions. However, recent signs indicated that the roles have been reversed. “The bureaucracy was never intended to be a coequal of the three branches of the federal government. It was intended to get power from them, not to grant power to them.” (Populism, Elites, and National Security, by Michael J. Glennon; The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University)

The decisions that were once made by elected officials are in fact being made by: “the nation’s most powerful elite—a largely concealed managerial directorate, consisting of the several hundred leaders of the military, law enforcement, and intelligence departments and agencies of our government. Those managers have been operating without constitutional limits and restraints, moving our nation slowly toward autocracy.” (Michael J. Glennon, Tufts University) Glennon goes on to state how, “easy it is for zealots, acting in secret and freed from the restraints of accountability, to push the nation slowly and silently toward autocracy.“

Balancing Power – It Is The People

James Madison said: “I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us?  If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.”

Madison makes it clear, that the framers believed that the true power of “checks and balances” provided in the Constitution, was that of civic virtue. He believed that its citizens had to be engaged and informed, so as to be able to participate meaningfully.

We the people are failing this civic virtue test. Mainstream media, the citizens information conduit, is also failing its responsibility to inform in an unbiased manner. They have shepherded the public into believing the security state is vital to our protection in both domestic and foreign issues. This symbiotic relationship is the real destructive collusion that is eroding our democratic republic. 

Exposed

In 2018, Michael J. Glennon wrote about the “realm of national security.” He says “its managers believe that they are the wise, the all-seeing guardians in charge commandeering the ship of state when some unsteady captain or crew sails it into the shallows.”

Based upon the testimony in the Trump Impeachment coup, the national security bureaucracy truly believes that they are the check on elected officials. Michael Morrell, a former acting head of the CIA, expressed the Security State’s narrative when he worried openly that “the President’s advisers have not been able to properly ‘manage’ the president.” 

This sentiment will not change until we the people become more studious in our pursuit of civic virtue.  How blatant must the “Deep State” bureaucratic coup become?

Populism, Elites, and National Security, Michael J. Glennon, Tufts University:

https://css.cua.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Populism-Elites-and-National-Security.pdf